Seating down on a plastic chair, rolling yellow rectangular papers into size of the burrito and pinching the ends. That was all I could do. I didn’t know how to help my uncle. My uncle always had red eyes, the type you would have temporarily after crying. For him, it was always like that. He is a very quiet man and his eyes are never wide open. I saw him just now at my grandparents’ place. Same eyes, only with the addition of a tear or two forming in it but not big enough for them to stream in rivulets down his face. His chubby son, the elder one, who was much younger had the same face on. You could tell from far away that something died in the both of them. Everyone else were like that as well at my grandparents’ place. Normally we would see each other in joyous occasions but tonight was nothing of the like but a stark contrast of the usual gatherings. Everyone I saw, I could sense all vibe or energy in them was put in dormancy and I knew it wasn’t going to take a short time to see the energy flow back into them. Like a squirrel hibernating during winter. Ah Mei, as we would call it, looked very peaceful in her red dress, which was patterned with golden flowers and green vines. She had so makeup on her, to conceal how pale her skin really is. I haven’t thought about death for a long time. Whenever I do, I would picture other important people in Ah Mei’s place and even my own. I did exactly that just now in the living room. Immediately I felt a tear forming in my eye. Would you want to live a long life and witness the demise of all the important people in your life, or die before they walk through the tunnel of light? It is a very complex question. To save yourself from sorrow you would want to be the first one to die but that would leave the people who love and care about you to be heartbroken. So why not stay long enough to see everyone important around you go? It tears me up inside to imagine that. I walked past the coffin and into the kitchen very slowly with my chin and eyes down. In the kitchen, people including my mom were talking. There were other aunties there as well and of course my grandmother who lives in that house. Under the creaky fan they were sharing thoughts about Ah Mei. Everyone changes when Death is present. Everyone voiced their own opinions out very quietly and their tones were grave. I wondered when I die, would everyone talk about me in that way? Would everyone I love be there to pay their respects? Would they praise me? Would they feel their heart tear up as they talk about how important I was to them? Would I even be important to them by then?
“She died so suddenly. It was such an untimely death.”
“Death is never timely, boy.”